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Thread: 418.Sqdn Navigator, + 16.02.1945

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    Default 418.Sqdn Navigator, + 16.02.1945

    Gentlemen,

    F/O James David Sharples (RCAF), a Navigator of 418.Sqdn, is buried in grave 5. G. 15. on Dürnbach War Cemetary. According to the CWGC, he died on 16.02.1945 near Dingolfing/Germany.

    Is there anything known about the loss of his a/c ? Maybe he died in captivity...

    Thanks in advance

    Heuser

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    Hi Heuser,

    According to this the pilot was P/O KV Panter, DSO who survived:

    http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/archive/index.php?t-12091.html

    Mark Huxtable visits this board so expect further information if he has it.

    Here's the citation on Panter's DSO:

    http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1945/1945%20-%201634.html

    as well as the citation on F/O Sharples' DFC:

    http://airforce.ca/uploads/airforce/2009/07/ALPHA-SH.html

    Regards,

    Dave

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    Default Expanded data on Sharples

    SHARPLES, P/O James David (J19986) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.418 Squadron - Award effective 1 September 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 2231/44 dated 13 October 1944. Born 18 August 1922 in Glasgow; home in Toronto (salesman). Enlisted there 12 November 1940. To Technical Training School, 22 December 1940. To No.1 ITS, 20 February 1941; graduated and promoted LAC, 29 March 1941; to No.12 EFTS that date; ceased training and posted to No.1 Manning Depot, 19 April 1941; to , No.1 AOS, 26 May 1941; to No.1 BGS, 18 August 1941; graduated and promoted Sergeant, 27 September 1941; posted that date to No.2 ANS; to "Y" Depot, 28 October 1941; to RAF overseas, 11 November 1941. Promoted Flight Sergeant, 27 February 1942; promoted WO2, 27 September 1942. Promoted WO1, 27 March 1943. Commissioned 31 January 1944. Promoted Flying Officer, 31 July 1944. Early in 1945 posted to Fighter Experimental Flight, Manston. Missing, presumed dead., 16 February 1945.(Mosquito RS516). Cited with P/O M.H. Sims (RCAF). Credited with involvement in the following victories: 5 May 1944, two Ju.87s destroyed on ground; 1 June 1944, one W.34 destroyed in air; 14 June 1944, one He.111 destroyed; 24 June 1944, two FW.190s damaged; 16 February 1945, two Bf.109s destroyed (one shared) and one Bf.109 probably destroyed; this last set of victories was as navigator to F/O K.V. Panter, RAF; the precise tally for this last sortie may have been five enemy aircraft destroyed by Panter/Sharples plus one probably destroyed and one damaged (see below).

    "As pilot and observer respectively, Pilot Officer Sims and Pilot Officer Sharples have completed a large number of sorties, many of them in adverse weather. They have displayed a high degree of skill and their keenness has been exceptional. They have destroyed four enemy aircraft in the air and damaged several more on the ground."

    The details of his final flight are in a Combat Report found in Public Record Office Air 50/466. The action involved two Mosquitos of the Fighter Experimental Flight crewed by F/L P.S. Compton (RAF) with F/O S.P. Malloy plus F/O K.V. Panter (RAF, later awarded DSO) with Sharples.. The time of the action was 1700 to 1727 hours (approximately), south of Munich, Bad Aibling and Landau. Weather was clear in target area with visibility up to six miles. Report filed by Compton read as follows:

    GENERAL REPORT

    Two Mosquitos VI, FEF, Pilot No.1 F/L P.S. Compton, Navigator F/O S.F. Melloy; Pilot No.2, F/O K.V. Panter, Navigator F/O J.D. Sharples, DFC, RCAF, left Ford at 1015 hours on the 16th February 1945 for an advance base in France on a daylight Ranger to the Vienna area. Landed at Juvincourt 1125 hours and took off again at 1415 hours for the trip. This was altered to a ranger in the Linz area taking in Bad Aibling, Wels, Eferding and Straubing, as there had been trouble with long range drop tanks. Just south of Munich at 1630 hours whilst flying on a track from West to East, F/O P.S. Compton attacked and probably destroyed a truck carrying a large packing case and a camouflaged staff car which was seen to turn turtle.

    F/L Compton states:-

    "On approaching Bad Ailling aerodrome at zero feet we warned F/O Panter that we were now getting near the target area. After reciving his OK F/O Melloy (Navigator) sighted a FW.190 in the air at 10 o'clock at approximately 1,500 feet altitude. We passed this information on to F/O Panter and told him to follow us. We made a medium 180 port turn ending up about one mile behind and below the enemy aircraft. At about 1,000 yards range the enemy aircraft started a steep turn to port. We also turned port to attack, closing to about 300 yards and at an angle of about 45 ahead. We fired approximately 3-second burst, seeking strikes on cockpit just below perspex. The enemy aircraft dived down in a port turn. We also turned port and dived after him. The enemy aircraft continued port turn and turned in towards us apparently after sighting F/O Panter. We got a 45 astern shot from approximately 200 yards range and at 300 feet height giving him approximately two- to three-second burst. My Navigator saw strikes on the side of the fuselage and the enemy aircraft rolled on to its back and dived into the ground and burst into flames. We proceeded to set course when told by F/O Panter that he was over the airfield and there was "bags of joy". We made a run towards the airfield from South to North and F/O Melloy saw a Me.410 (camouflaged blue gray and dark green) on the ground slightly to port. We gave it a 1-2 second burst of cannon from 100 yards range, strikes being seen on port wing and on the ground, and the aircraft was then seen to emit much gray smoke. In the meanwhile F/O Panter had made a similar run on a Me.109 to the port of us, which was also observed to emit clouds of smoke after attack. Both F/O Panter and ourselves made a second run on both these same aircraft. One burst struck the ground and then pulled up through the fuselage of the 410. The area was then left and both the aircraft were seen to be smoking. There was slight inaccurate flak (self-destroying) from the East side of the aerodrome. A course was then set for Linz area at 1708 hours and we crossed the Wels Marshalling Yards where we observed six goods trains. We passed East of the town and observing a number of aircraft parked round the perimeter track. There was no flying here, so we continued to the Staubing area. At 1727 hours F/O Panter reported two Me.109s to port over Landau airfield at 2,000 feet. We turned towards them, F/O Panter taking the nearest and ourselves the furtherst enemy aircraft. At about 1 ½ miles range our Me.109 turned hard to port, and we followed and at about 250 yards gave him a 90 deflection shot, strikes seen on rear of fuselage, only using .303 as cannon ammunition had run out. The enemy aircraft continued to turn port and dived over the top of us, so we did a steep diving turn to port and saw F/O Panter at 45 to our enemy aircraft, which then hit the ground, bursting into flames just to the East of Landau airfield. It is believed that F/O Panter had also attacked this aircraft. Meanwhile my Navigator had seen the first Me.109 (F/O Panter's quarry) burning on the ground ½ mile East of the airfield. F/O Panter then turned to starboard and warned us that two Me.109s were overhead at 2,500 feet. At the same time he received a burst of light flak from the airfield (time 1730 hours approximately)/ F/O Panter then called up and said that he thought he was on fire. We told him that this was so, as we could see black smoke coming from the belly of the aircraft and told him that he should bale out. He immediately climbed to 1,500 feet and both he and F/O Sharples were seen to jump by F/O Melloy and to land safely about 6 miles West of Landau. The aircraft was then in flames and seen to crash. We then set course for Juvincourt. Neither of the other Me.109s made any attempt at an attack. Juvincourt was reached at 1930 hours.

    F/L Compton wishes it to be noted that the accurate navigation of F/O Melloy contributed very largely to the success of this trip.

    As a matter of general interest it is recorded that the Country side seemed to be active. Numerous people, vehicles and rolling stock seen in various places during the trip.

    The Combat Report listed the following claims for each participant: Compton and Melloy: one FW.190 destroyed, ½ Me.109 destroyed, one Me.410 probably destroyed (ground), two transport vehicles probably destroyed; Panter and Sharples: one Me.109 destroyed (air), ½ Me.109 destroyed (air), one Me.109 probably destroyed (ground).

    Air 50/466 has an undated supplemental report filed by F/O Panter on his return from captivity:

    "Reference is made to this Unit's Serial No. AY/7 of 16/2/45 relating to a Day Ranger to Bad Aibling and Landau by F/L P.S. Compton and F/O K.V. Panter.

    "F/O Panter who was made a POW has now returned to this Country and has added the following information:-

    "Whilst at Bad Aibling F/O Panter attacked a Me.110 on the ground with machine gun only and claimed this as damaged, a Ju.88 was also attacked with cannon and machine gun, this was left ablaze and both engines were seen to fall off the fuselage. This is claimed as destroyed. F/O Panter also states that the Me.109 claimed probably destroyed was in fact a FW.190.

    "During the time our aircraft was passing over Wels a train was attacked and a flak hit was received by F/O Panter in the fuselage.

    "LANDAU

    "On reaching the airfield at least five Me.109s were seen in the air and F/O Panter succeeded in destroying three of thse and F/L Compton one. The latter was previously claimed as shared by both pilots, but F/O Panter states that he did not fire on this particular aircraft and in consequence the credit for the destruction of this 109 must go to F/L Compton. F/O Panter. In addition to destroying three in the air, all seen to crash in the vicinity of the airfield, also destroyed one Me.109 on the North side of the airfield.

    "The claims for this operation are now as follows:

    "F/L Compton

    1 FW.190 destroyed in the air
    1 Me.109 destroyed in the air
    1 Me.410 probably destroyed on ground
    2 transport vehicles probably destroyed


    F/O Panter

    3 Me.109s destroyed in the air
    1 Me.109 destroyed on the ground
    1 Ju.88 destroyed on the ground
    1 FW.190 probably destroyed on the ground
    1 Me.110 damaged on the ground
    1 train damaged.

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    Gentlemen,

    I'm impressed - thank you very much for your replies! The a/c crashed in fact near Töding, which is SW Großköllnbach.

    Best regards

    Heuser

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    Many thanks for posting all the info, Hugh.

    I can only add that "Landau" must be Landau an der Isar, which is NE of Munich and very close to the location mentioned by Heuser.

    There was also a post once upon a time by Charles Bavaroise which indicated that the 190 shot down was a Fw190 A-8, Werk Nummer 170935, marked GV+DH of II. ZG 101 (a training unit), Ogefr. Erwin KIA, listed as shot down by enemy fighters near Bad Aibling.

    Cheers,

    Mark

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